By Kevin Klose
There is a new full service restaurant in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It is located in the Asia section of the park and is named Anandapur Yak and Yeti Restaurant.
The theme-ing meshes nicely with the area around Expedition Everest and goes a long way in rounding out that area of the park.
The two story restaurant sits adjacent to the Kali River Rapids and also offers an outdoor counter service area as well. The indoor area of the restaurant seats 250 guests on two floors. The dining rooms are divided into smaller sections so you don’t get that “mess hall” feeling. The upstairs is serviced by a beautiful staircase but is also fully accessible by elevator. The outdoor counter service area seats 350 according to a supervisor we spoke with.
While we dined downstairs, I am told that the daily Animal Kingdom Parade can be seen from the window seats upstairs. I can imagine that these seats will be covetedespecially during the very warm summer months.
As we have come to expect from Disney, this restaurant is very well themed and decorated. You can see the time and planning that went into executing the décor. This restaurant is surprisingly sedate compared to other venues operated by the Landry Company. (i.e. Rainforest Café) There are no animatronic Yaks or Yetis to be found.
The restaurant is currently in a “soft opening” phase and just opened their doors to the paying public on 11/14/2007. They are not accepting reservations until January 3rd, 2008 and will only accept walk-ups until then.
The food selection offered is a pan-Asian sampling with strong Americanized bent. ( full menu )
Our party of four tried the Prawn Flavored Chips ($4.99) the Wok Fried Green Beans ($6.99), the Lettuce Cups ($10.99) and the Dim Sum Basket $12.99)
The appetizers garnered rave reviews, even from the less adventurous eaters. It seemed that we hit the right combination and found something for everyone. I would tell you if one stood out but all were delicious. The only negative, and it’s not really a negative but more a matter of personal taste, were with the lettuce cups. The ingredients were delicious, but the lettuce seemed to get in the way.
After we received our appetizers, we ordered our entrees. As we had ordered a number of appetizers, we decided to share three entrees for four people. We tried the Crispy Honey Chicken ($15.99), the Baby Back Ribs ($22.99) and the Pho ($16.99).
Where the appetizers got rave reviews, the entrees were deemed good, except for the Pho. This dish carried the following description:
Pho - Lemon grass-scented broth, poached shrimp, rice noodles, and traditional Vietnamese garnishes.
Maybe I’m not as adventurous an eater as I have always thought but we found this to be truly bad. The traditional Vietnamese garnishes included a bowl of fish oil. This was new to me and the smell was so strong and unpleasant that we asked something I have never asked before in a restaurant. I asked that this entrée be removed from the table.
I have to commend the staff. This was done without fanfare and I was offered a new entrée. I apologized for not liking the dish and offered to pay for it as it was my error in ordering it, but it was replaced with out charge. Our server did note that this entrée was not proving to be well liked, so I am guessing that I might not have been the first to have this reaction.
My entrée of choice was the Maple Tamarind Chicken ($17.99) which was far more successful.
While all of our entrees were tasty, none had the wow factor of the appetizers.
About the highest compliment I can give this new restaurant is that everyone in our party had no trouble deciding what we would order on our next visit.
We finished our meal by sharing one dessert. We tried the Fried Wontons (7.99). This consists of fried wontons filled with cream cheese on a skewer with grilled pineapple and served with a vanilla sauce and a bowl of vanilla ice cream. It was a nice sweet ending to a good meal.
The restaurant does not currently accept the Disney Dining Experience but is considering it. It does accept the Disney Dining Plan..
For an establishment that has been open for less than one full week, I must commend the staff and management. It seemed that everyone had been well trained and were eager to please.
Other than the mis-step with one entrée (and that was my fault) it turned out to be an experience I’d recommend.